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PANATHINAIKOS extends Batiste, Nicholas
Panathinaikos has reached new agreements with two of the players that led the club to its recent success, former Alphonso Ford Top Scoring trophy winner Drew Nicholas and two-time Euroleague champion Mike Batiste. Both players signed two-year deals with the Greens on Thursday. Nicholas (193, 29) joined Panathinaikos two years ago and helped the team win the Euroleague in 2009. Nicholas has also lifted back-to-back Greek League trophies and won the Greek Cup title in 2009. Last season he averaged 10.5 points and 2.2 assists in 16 Euroleague games. He has spent his entire professional career in Europe after an impressive college basketball career at the University of Maryland, where he helped the Terrapins win the 2002 NCAA title. Nicholas started in Italy suiting up for Fabriano Basket and then Basket Livorno, leading the Italian League in scoring in each season with 27.1 and 22.8 points per game, respectively. He finished the 2004-05 season with Tau Ceramica in Spain and then came back to Italy for the 2005-06 season with Benetton Treviso. At Benetton, Nicholas was the Euroleague's top scorer with 20.4 points per game, earning the Alphonso Ford Top Scoring trophy, and he also won the Italian championship. He moved to Efes Pilsen in the summer of 2006 and helped that team win the 2007 Turkish Cup.
"Ι am very happy, because my desire to stay here has been met," Nicholas said. "I think that Panathinaikos is an ideal situation for a player who has big ambitions. You feel like you are part of a family and that counts a lot. For next season the targets is the usual one: To fight for all three titles."
Batiste (203, 33) signed for his eighth and ninth seasons with the Greens, a record for a non-Greek player in that country. He averaged 15.5 points – his best output with Panathinaikos to date – and 5.7 rebounds in 11 Euroleague games last season. The big man is already climbing the charts of all-time Euroleague leaders, ranking 13th with 1,786 points and seventh with 798 rebounds. During his time in Athens, Batiste has amassed two Euroleague crowns, seven Greek Championships and five Greek Cups. He has also played for Spirou Charleroi in Belgium, Pallacanestro Biella in Italy and in the NBA for Memphis.
"Panathinaikos was always my first choice, so the decision was easy," Batiste said. "We reached an agreement that we both like and that makes me very happy."
Thursday, July 15, 2010
Vassilis Skountis, Athens
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